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Unexplainable events do happen in our world and should we choose to believe it is up to us – such is the phenomena of divine apparitions which has been going on for centuries. The most reported being that of Mary where she has been seen in several apparitions around the world. Manifestation of divine presence to mortals is nothing new as they have occurred and mentioned in the Bible as well as in the Greek tradition. In France one of the most important Marian apparition was seen in the grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes when a lady wearing a flowing white dress appeared eighteen times to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Today Lourdes has become one of the world most visited Marian sanctuary. My visit to the grotto and the sanctuary were quite impressive and I did enjoy the Cross Walk up hill behind the sanctuary. As for the famous holy water that flowed from the grotto I am not too sure about it despite apparent miraculous healing of sick pilgrims and the continuous flowing water from taps along the sanctuary collected by those who believe in its healing powers. Perhaps should we say seeing is believing and believing is to manifest it. Paris the year is 1830 when once again Marian vision came upon Catherine Labouré who was one of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul … And so the Miraculous Medal was born. Today the chapel of the Miraculous Medal in Paris has become one of the holy destination for Catholic pilgrimages.
Like in many Catholic countries today is an important day in France, a national holiday celebrating the ascent of Mary to the heavens ending her earthly life “The Assumption” is an important religious celebration in France and in Paris the Marian ceremony takes place at the Notre Dame Cathedral. Pilgrims from around the world gather to celebrate the Assumption and this is the day when the famous statue made by Jean-Baptiste Gaspard Odiot given by Charles X in 1826 as a remembrance of Louis XIII wish for France to be consecrated to Mary is taken on a river and land processions around Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint Louis. The river procession which takes place the night before is accompanied by 12 boats with pilgrims chanting while holding candle lits.
The next day (Assumption 15 August) after vespers prayers the statue is taken once again for land procession around the Ile de la Cité …. and here ends the holy celebration of Mary … Bless you all …